Season of Giving Ideas
A couple years ago, I made a list. 25 Days of Christmas Activities that I love to do every year at Christmas time. Traditions that fill my every day of December with baking, making, and taking. This year I wanted to do things a little different. I wanted to push myself to fill the days until Christmas with not only ideas to deck the halls, but also ideas to fill my heart. So without further adieu, here are 25 Season of Giving Ideas.
Season of Giving Ideas – Donate
- Toys/Books- Plan some time to go through your kids old toys and books. Use it as a teaching moment to show your kids that their unused items can now bring joy and happiness to some other child.
- Personal Hygiene Items- When out shopping during December, throw a few extra every day essentials into your cart to donate. Shampoo, laundry soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, toilet paper, etc. It is a simple, but often much needed item in shelters or food pantries.
- Warm Clothing- That like-new coat hanging in the back of your closet or an extra pair of mittens that will go unused this winter, make a great donation to charity.
- Food- Talk to your local shelter and see what items they are in desperate need of. Don’t forget about your four legged friends! Donate dog or cat food to an animal shelter. Maybe even a few bags of treats.
- Diapers- Anyone who has been around a newborn, knows how many diapers are used (and abused) everyday! Grab a few bags of diapers and wipes while out shopping. Take to a local women’s shelter this season.
Season of Giving – Make and Take
- Christmas Cookies- Make a batch of your favorite Christmas cookies or candies. Eat a few for yourself (you know I am all about quality testing) and then take a platter to share with co-workers.
- Handmade Ornaments- Pinterest is full of simple and easy ornaments or Christmas gifts. Make one of my DIY Floating Picture Ornaments and gift to someone special in your life.
- Soup to Share- Make a batch of your favorite soup (try my Cheesy Ham and Potato Chowder or Momma’s Taco Soup). Package up any extras and take to an elderly neighbor or friend. Stay a minute and talk.
- Breakfast of Champions- Take a dozen donuts or a breakfast pizza to a local police or fire station to show your thanks for their public service.
Season of Giving – Thinking Of You
- Christmas Card- Some people send them every year, others when they remember. You don’t need to send a card to every old college roommate or crazy Great-Aunt Karen, but pick and choose a few people who you would like to spread some holiday cheer to.
- Call a Parent- Or parent-like figure in your life. And no… I don’t mean send a text to see how they are doing. Pick. Up. The. Phone. And. Call. Them! They will appreciate it more than you know.
- Congrats!- Your cousin just announced she’s pregnant or an old classmate got a big promotion. You see friend and family members sharing big news on Facebook all the time. You click the like or love button and maybe leave a comment. How about going a step further. Mail a card with a handwritten congrats!
- Text an Old Friend- You know the one that you have been wondering how they are doing. What is happening in their life? The conversation doesn’t have to be long, “Hey! Just me. I was thinking about you the other day and was hoping every thing is going well for your family!”
- Send a “Thinking of You Card”- We all know someone who is going through a hard time. A family member, a friend, co-worker, or neighbor who recently lost a loved one, a job, or just doesn’t seem as cheerful as usual. Send a quick note or card telling them that you are thinking about them and they are not alone.
Season of Giving – Keep It Simple
- Smile- Just smile at someone. Maybe you know them. Maybe you don’t. But in the end does it really matter? A smile has a way of brightening anyone’s day. Maybe even yours.
- Open a Door- Again such a small gesture, but one that is often appreciated. Maybe someone is struggling with shopping bags or kids. Maybe not. But either way, this random act of kindness can go far in spreading a little seasonal joy.
- Give Someone a Genuine Compliment- “I love that shirt on you!” “Your hair is gorgeous tonight!” “Wow. You have a great smile!” Simple little sentences that can brighten anyone’s day.
Season of Giving – Out and About
- Sing Christmas Carols- Round up a group of family members and/or friends and go to a local nursing home to sing Christmas carols to residents. My family would do this every year at a local nursing home. Some would play the piano, others would sing, and some of us would lip sync like professionals. No matter if we were slightly out of tune or stumbling over the lyrics of the third verse, the residents didn’t seem to care one bit. They were just happy to share the moment with us.
- Out to Eat- It’s fun to take a special night to go out and eat during the Christmas season. Enjoy delicious food with a loved one and then at the end of the evening add a very generous tip to your tab. I imagine this gesture would make a bigger difference to your waiter or waitress than you may ever know, especially at Christmas time.
- Share a Coffee- Grab an extra coffee at your favorite morning stop. Then deliver to someone ringing a bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The warm gesture is sure to show a volunteer how much their time is appreciated. Add a couple dollars to the kettle before you leave.
- Babysitting Services- Offer to babysit for a young parent you know. Allow mom and/or dad a chance to get out of the house for a date night, Christmas shopping, or just a few hours to themselves.
- Leave a Gift for the Gift Bearers- I’m not talking the three wise men from the story of Jesus’s birth. Those FedEx, UPS, or US Postal Service men and women who work all year long delivering your Amazon Prime orders and gifts from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. Leave a basket of snacks and bottled drinks at your front door with a note of how much they are appreciated.
- Shop Local- As much as I like the convenience of being able to order almost any gift from my list online, there is something special about shopping local. The Amazons, Targets, Walmarts, etc are not what is holding small towns together. It’s the neighbors who love living here as much as you do.
- Grocery Run- It is usually harder for your elderly neighbors, friends, and relatives to get out and run errands this time of year. It’s colder and walk-ways are icy. Offer to take them on a grocery store run. Push the cart, reach items on the top shelf, and maybe even pay for a portion of the groceries. Then help unload the bags when they get back home.
- Spend Time Together- Everyone is busy and there are Christmas parties that fill up the month of December. But why not schedule an impromptu get together with a small group of friends. Order a pizza, open some wine, watch a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie or play a board game. But really just have fun being with people who “fill your cup” and bring such joy to your life.
Season of Giving Ideas List
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
So this year try embracing the real reason for the holiday season. Give of yourself. Time, money, or just a smile can do so much to brighten another’s day.
I would love to see what “good deeds” you do throughout December! Take a picture or write a little comment about what idea from the list above you did (or make up your own). Tag me on social media @MyFarmhouseTable or use the hashtag #FarmhouseSeasonOfGiving. Before Christmas, I will compile a few of my favorite posts and share what this Season of Giving Ideas are all about!